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Mitoxantrone (Novoantrone)

Article Translations: (Spanish)

How does this medicine work?

Mitoxantrone (my-toe-zan-trone) is a chemotherapy medicine used to treat cancer. It is unknown exactly how it works, but it interferes with the cells' ability to make RNA and DNA.

How is it given?

Mitoxantrone is given into the vein (IV) in the hospital. This medicine is a blue liquid.

Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?

Check with the doctor or pharmacist before giving any other prescription or non-prescription medicines, herbs, or vitamins.

What are the side effects?


  • low blood cell counts
  • mouth sores
  • nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
  • hair loss


  • changes in liver function
  • skin rash
  • diarrhea


  • fatigue
  • irregular or faster heart rate during infusion


  • heart muscle damage
  • heart failure

When should I call the doctor?

  • fever
  • chills
  • bleeding or unusual bruising
  • severe fatigue
  • mouth sores
  • skin rash or irritation
  • continued vomiting or diarrhea
  • trouble breathing - call 911

What precautions should I take?

All caregivers should wear gloves when handling urine, stool, and vomit while your child is getting the chemotherapy infusion and for 48 hours after the chemotherapy is completed. Urine, stool, and vomit can be safely flushed in the sewer system and septic tanks.

Any clothing or bed linens that are contaminated with urine, stool, or vomit should be washed separately from other laundry in hot water and detergent. Anyone handling the contaminated laundry should wear gloves.

What else do I need to know?

Blood samples may be needed to check the effects of the mitoxantrone. Blood counts are lowest at 1 to 3 weeks after the medicine is given. Blood tests are also done to check the liver function.

Heart tests are done before this medicine is given and at certain times throughout the course of treatment.

Good mouth care will help prevent mouth sores.

Because the medicine is blue, the urine may be blue for 1 or 2 days after treatment. The sclera (white part of the eye) may also turn blue temporarily. You may see blue streaks in the vein where the mitoxantrone is given.

Tissue burn may occur if the medicine leaks from the vein.

Prevent sunburn. During treatment and for one year after, your child should wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), a hat, and protective clothing when outdoors.

You and your child should know the names and doses of all the medicines he or she is taking. Share this information with anyone involved in your child's care.


This is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the oncology clinic or pharmacy.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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